We're nearly midway through November, malls around the country are decked out in garland and other Christmas decorations, and Thanksgiving is a little under two weeks away. What's that have to do with football? Not a whole lot, other than everything -- it's now Week 10, and it's the start of the stretch run as teams look to make playoff pushes.
As always, I'm here to pick each and every game this week, both straight up and against the spread. Last week, I went 10-3 straight up -- not too shabby. Overall for the season, I'm 79-44 straight up -- with my only sub-.500 week coming in Week 3's disastrous 3-12 week.
Oakland Raiders (+9) at Baltimore Ravens -- You're giving me that much of a layup? We've got a rather uninspiring west coast road team playing an early game against one of the better teams in the AFC.
No, I don't think the Ravens are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but they'll smoke the Raiders. Baltimore wins, and covers.
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at Carolina Panthers -- Everybody is starting to buy into Peyton Manning and the Broncos, huh? Well, everybody except for me. Denver is 5-3 overall, but just 2-2 on the road -- losing to two quality teams on the road (New England, Atlanta).
That said, Denver is still good enough to beat a pretty hapless Panthers team. I'll take Denver to win, and cover.
New York Giants (-4) at Cincinnati Bengals -- Tough call here. I don't think the Bengals are really that good (read: any good), but this feels like a trap game for the Giants, coming off of a loss to Pittsburgh and looking forward to a date against the Discount Doublecheck Packers.
I'll take the Giants to win, but the Bengals keep it close and cover.
Tennessee has been outscored by a wide margin, but that won't happen on Sunday. Dolphins win, Titans cover.
Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings -- Boy, a lot has changed between these two teams in the last month. Ever since Christian Ponder stopped completing passes at a ridiculous high rate, Minnesota's passing offense has looked like a joke.
I just don't think Minnesota can score enough, even at home, to keep up with Detroit. Lions win, and cover.
Buffalo Bills (+13) at New England Patriots -- Remember when everybody was freaking out when the Bills were leading the Patriots 14-7 at halftime back in September, and for a brief second it looked like the Pats were going to fall to 1-3?
Yeah. Then it rained touchdowns from Tom Brady and co. It's always tough for me to take a team that's favored by nearly two touchdowns to cover, but I'll take the Patriots to win and cover -- and there will be lots of Super Bird domination, too.
You can bank on this being New Orleans' Super Bowl this year, and they need a win to keep the playoff hopes alive and well. Give me the Saints in the upset.
Bucs win and cover.
New York Jets (+6) at Seattle Seahawks -- I don't think either team is good, but the Jets are really, really bad. Then again, Russell Wilson is really, really bad. And on the other hand, Mark Sanchez is really, really, really bad.
The Jets are certainly capable of winning this game, and it'll fuel hope in New York that the Jets can make the playoffs. Jets win, and obviously, cover.
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Philadelphia Eagles -- Somebody's fanbase is going to be highly irritable come Sunday night -- borderline psychotic. Eagles fans will call for Andy Reid and Michael Vick's head if the Eagles lose, and likewise, Cowboys fans will call for Tony Romo's head (unfairly) and Jerry Jones' head (fairly) if they lose.
I just can't see the Cowboys marching into Philadelphia and winning. Sorry, Cowboys fans, Eagles in the upset.
Yeah, the Rams were dismantled by the Patriots in London, but they did have two weeks to prepare for this game. I can't see this game getting that out of hand. San Francisco wins, St. Louis covers.
I'll take the team that doesn't have Jay Cutler at quarterback. Texans win.
Steelers win, and cover.